Commanders at Britain’s Scotland Yard defended their slow response time to the terror attack in Woolwich, England earlier this week as a preventative measure to save police lives, citing tactics used by Palestinians against Israel.
“Questions were immediately asked about why you would commit such an offense and wait for police. These are the kind of tactics seen employed by Palestinians in Israel.
“Detonate a bomb, wait for the emergency services to arrive and then walk in with a suicide vest,” one police source told the Daily Mail.
According to the newspaper, commanders at Scotland Yard suspected the killers were waiting for officers to arrive so they could set off hidden explosives.
“‘The unarmed officers were effectively keeping a cordon. Both guys were wearing heavy coats and keeping a distance between us and them was a priority,” the source said.
This is why they chose to send in firearms officers who did not arrive at the scene of the carnage for 14 minutes, the source explained.
That left their uniformed colleagues to stand on the sidelines while three women confronted the killers.
Assistant Commissioner Simon Byrnet said unarmed officers arrived at John Wilson Street within nine minutes of the first of hundreds of 999 calls to flood into their control room.
It was reported that among the officers was at least one armed with a Taser but he was told to stand by.
When their armed colleagues finally arrived, witnesses described how the men suddenly aggressively ran at them.
“Police just stood there. It was only after shots were fired that officers appeared and started shouting at everyone to ‘get back,’” one bystander told the Daily Mail.
Assistant commissioner Mark Rowley said it was a “good decision” to wait for armed response officers to confront the men.
He said the Metropolitan Police expect armed officers to respond to incidents in around 12 minutes, but they can be delayed by traffic.
Len Duvall, a London Assembly member who represents Woolwich, said the police were put in “difficult circumstances” and had to make “judgment calls.”
Jenny Jones, a London Green politician who scrutinizes the Met, defended the incident response time, saying it was “perfectly reasonable” given the complex circumstances the officers had to face.